Tool Reviews

Is Codesmith Your Path To a Software Engineering Job?

Codesmith is consistently ranked as a top bootcamp to learn computer science and full-stack JavaScript. Is it worth the investment?

Codesmith is a coding bootcamp that teaches full stack JavaScript and computer science. Its most popular courses are its Immersive Programs, which aim to prepare participants for mid-to-senior level engineer jobs. According to Codesmith's website, the bootcamp combines specialized curriculum with a supportive community to train its students on the latest web technologies and how to think like a software engineer.

The learning platform has rave reviews for its free CSX platform for Javascript, job search assistance, free events and meetups, and of course the bootcamp itself. But will Codesmith help you land top software engineering roles? We'll go over the content, reviews, and success rates and let you decide for yourself.

What courses can I expect?

To be admitted into Codesmith, you'll need to submit an application and pass both a non-technical and technical interview. If you don't have any prior experience as a software engineer, you can enroll in Codesmith's CS Prep course. This two-week program covers JavaScript concepts, engineering best practices and technical communication. The course is designed to equip individuals with the skills needed for Codesmith's Immersive programs.

Participants can choose to enroll in Codesmith's Immersive programs through their Full-Time Immersive (12 weeks) or Part-Time Immersive (38 weeks) tracks. For their Full-Time Immersive programs, bootcamp students typically choose between participating remotely or onsite at the New York City or Los Angeles offices. However, all of Codesmith's Full-Time Immersive Programs are currently remote due to COVID-19.

In addition to its core curriculum, Codesmith prides itself on its hiring support program that guides participants (known as "Residents") through whiteboarding, resume development, mock interviews and more. On its website, Codesmith proudly declares: "By the end of the 12 weeks, you will be an autonomous engineer, ready to make an impact at innovative tech companies worldwide."

What is the curriculum like?

Topics of study

Codesmith teaches a wide variety of skills and tools that are crucial for software engineer jobs. The core curriculum combines lectures, pair programming, workshops and group projects. By the end of the bootcamp, participants will have studied the following:

  • Computer Science: algorithms, system design, data structures, programming paradigms and design patterns
  • Front End Development: React/Redux, JavaScript, HTML/CSS, building modern webpages
  • Back End Development: Node and Express, authentication, non-relational databases, relational databases
  • Groundbreaking Tech: machine learning, up-and-coming technologies
  • Real World Engineering Practices: technical communication, real world engineering tools (Git, Github, dev tools, etc.), project management, devops best practices 

You can get a full breakdown of Codesmith's curriculum on its website here.

Hands-on projects

As part of the Codesmith program, participants will also work on a series of hands-on projects that will allow them to put their knowledge in action and build their portfolios. These projects include: 

  • Solo Project: Usually focuses on 1-2 technologies, allows participants to integrate APIs and practice connecting different parts of an application.
  • Reinforcement Project: Focuses on preparing individuals for upcoming technical interviews. Participants will dive deeper on a technology which is typically one they aim to work with in their first jobs after Codesmith.
  • Scratch/Iteration Project: Allows participants to experience development in a team environment. Students will learn Github for teams, SCRUM and agile methodologies and also get exposure to more complex technologies.
  • Production Project: Arguably the most important part of the Codesmith curriculum. According to the Codesmith website, participants will build "cutting edge projects and tackle incredibly difficult problems for the developer community." 

What have people said about Codesmith?

On SwitchUp, Codesmith boasts an impressive 4.92/5 stars with almost 300 reviews on the site. Many reviewers praised the bootcamp and said that, although the course can be intense and challenging, it can also be rewarding if participants put in the necessary effort. Reviews also mentioned how participants developed their problem-solving skills, learned from their cohort mates and gained valuable experience needed to succeed in software development.

One recent review from Feb. 2021 gave the bootcamp a 5/5 overall score and called the experience life changing. They said:

Codesmith is a great program for those who are ready to put in the work to become a software engineer. Codesmith's way of instruction can feel rough at times, but because they push their students out of their comfort zone, that's why Codesmith is so successful. Their approach to the job hunt is amazing and I encourage you to go through the program and see it for yourself. A lot of what you're paying for at codesmith is invaluable. Personally, I loved that they put me in a mindset to succeed and to go after what I deserve and nothing less.

Another reviewer signed up for an in-person Immersive Program, the bootcamp was forced to go remote due to COVID-19. The reviewer mentions that they struggled with the remote learning and would have appreciated additional support from their instructors before starting new projects. They explained:

Codesmith has a unique teaching style. For each unit, they will give a couple hours of lectures on some new concepts and then throw you into a 2 day project with a partner where you feel like you don't have the slightest idea of where to even start. There is a help desk that the Fellows answer but the teachers aren't really around much. It is definitely frustrating at times but having to learn things the hard way through Google and lots of errors does help you remember and understand what you are doing. I do wish the lectures were a little more related to the code we would be writing and not just overall big pictures.

What's the success rate like?

Codesmith offers an entire page on its website dedicated to its "Graduate Outcomes" — and the results are fairly impressive. According to their website, Codesmith graduates were ranked to have the highest median starting salary among all bootcamp programs (data taken from two reporting periods in 2019). The median annual base salary for NYC grads is $120,000 and the median annual base salary for LA grads is $115,000. 

Codesmith also tracks employment rate of its participants 180 days after graduation. Approximately 87% of NYC Codesmith graduates were employed in-field and almost 81% of LA Codesmith graduates were employed in-field. 

Additionally, Codesmith provides a snapshot of the companies its graduates have gone on to work for. These companies include everything from hot startups to well-established tech giants like Amazon, Google, Bloomberg, Microsoft and LinkedIn.

Is it right for me?

Past Codesmith graduates clearly have a lot of good things to say about the program and Codesmith's "Graduate Outcomes" certainly speak for themselves. If you have some coding knowledge and are looking to hustle and become a full stack developer in just three months, Codesmith may just be the perfect program for you. 

However, Codesmith definitely isn't for everyone, especially for the faint of heart. If you enroll in the full-time course, expect to dedicate over 70 hours a week to the program. On top of that, tuition for Codesmith's Software Engineering Immersive programs start at $19,350 for programs (starting March 1st, 2021 or later). Before committing to the program, make sure it makes sense for your career goals and lifestyle.

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